KANSAS CITY, Mo. — We now know who won’t suit up for the New England Patriots in their AFC Championship Game showdown against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Here are the Patriots’ inactives:
TE Stephen Anderson
OL James Ferentz
DE Ufomba Kamalu
DE Keionta Davis
DE Deatrich Wise Jr.
DT Danny Shelton
CB Duke Dawson
— All seven players are healthy scratches.
— The biggest surprises are Wise and Shelton. The Patriots chose to dress defensive ends Derek Rivers and Adrian Clayborn and safety Obi Melifonwu over Wise and Shelton.
— Wise was inactive in the divisional round with an ankle injury. He was removed from the injury report this week. The Patriots excelled at rushing the passer last week against the Los Angeles Chargers. It’s possible the Patriots don’t believe Wise would be mobile enough to keep Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the pocket.
— Melifonwu last was active in Week 14 against the Miami Dolphins, though he didn’t actually get on the field. He last played in Week 13 against the Minnesota Vikings.
— Shelton went through a stretch of being a healthy scratch from Week 13 to Week 15. The Patriots lost two of those three games and struggled to defend the run. The Patriots clearly are preparing to stop the Chiefs’ passing attack before they worry about the run.
— Dawson still hasn’t been active this season. He was a 2018 second-round pick.
— Melifonwu could see some time covering Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. Melifonwu is 6-foot-4, 224 pounds.
Thumbnail photo via Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports Images